Apr 28, 2015

April 2015 Loot Crate - Fantasy

Hear ye, hear ye!

Lords and Ladies, I present to you the Loot Crate for the month of April, which has been generously given unto me to share with you.

April 2015 Loot Crate Book

The mag this month has articles on the influence of D&D in pop culture and a couple of recommendations on fantastic shows to watch. If you ever want to see what all is in these, you can hit magazine.lootcrate.com.

April 2015 Loot Crate Misc

Here's a few random items! A Harry Potter luggage tag which is pretty cool. If I didn't already have my Nightmare Before Christmas tag, I'd probably use this. That odd flat thing in the upper right is an inflatable crown (I didn't have the ambition to blow it up for a pic). Also pictured is a geeky gamer bow tie with little dragons and d20s. Bow ties may be cool, but I cannot pull them off.

April 2015 Loot Crate Magnets & USB Drive

How could you do a Fantasy crate and not include Game of Thrones? Here we have a set of four house magnets and a Stark sigil 4GB USB drive. I'm a sucker for novelty flash drives. I took a close up of the drive so you can see the detail better. When it's closed all the way, you can't even tell that it opens.

April 2015 Loot Crate Stark Flash Drive

Next up is a deck of Princess Bride playing cards from Albino Dragon. The same people that made the Ghostbusters deck I posted a while back.

April 2015 Loot Crate Princess Bride Deck

The art on these is hit or miss for me.

April 2015 Loot Crate Princess Bride cards

Some of them look great up close, and others look best when they're on the table, not so close. But I will say they did a great job at selecting which moments/quotes to highlight.

April 2015 Loot Crate Shirt

Rounding out the Crate is this shirt which had me puzzled until I figured out it was Dungeons & Dragons. Sure, it's part of the D&D logo but on its own...I guess it's cool because dragons? But I imagine other people will think "Cool shirt, why is that dragon an ampersand?" or "That's probably from that Game of Thrones show."

April 2015 Loot Crate Box

Once again, they've done a little something with the Crate interior. If you turn it inside out, you get a table with a map, dagger and a few coins on it. I like the little goblin looking thing hiding under the back corner leg.

Overall, this one was a little better than middle of the road for me. No question, you're getting your coin's worth as far as value but there wasn't a lot to get me overly excited.

Remember last month, how there was an online scavenger hunt using items from the Crate?
This is what the prize was.

Loot Crate Evil

If you'd like to get a box full o geekiness delivered every month, sign up at Loot Crate and use the promo code AEIOUWHY for 10% any subscription plan.

Apr 21, 2015

Nothing But Star Wars!

Even though I didn't attend Star Wars Celebration this weekend, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with all the news that came out of it. More specifically, the trailers. We got a new one every day!

The Force Awakens trailer blew up the internet like a proton torpedo into a thermal exhaust port with 88 million views in its first 24 hours! I know it had me like...

TFA_pilot

I'm trying to stay as spoiler free as possible, only letting myself take in what's officially released but that's almost impossible in this day and age. If you want to sling theories in the comments, you're more than welcome.

TFA_Vader helmet

The Force Awakens has some Wookiee sized shoes to fill...if they wore shoes. Bigger even than any of the prequel movies because this is the one that involves the characters that us long time fans are so invested in. And from what I've seen it looks like it's on track to deliver.

The one thing this movie has to do for me above all else is feel connected to the Original Trilogy. The first time I walked out of Phantom Menace I was wondering what I just saw because it looked like Star Wars but it didn't feel like it. That would eventually change after a few more viewings and figuring out that it was a different kind of Star Wars.

TFA_Saber

Vader's helmet and Anakin's/Luke's lightsaber are iconic, even legendary, items in the Star Wars mythology. How do they come back into the story? My guess is probably wrong, but I'm wondering if the forest we see Kylo Ren (the red saber wielder in the teaser trailer) is actually Endor and he gets Vader's helmet from where his body was burned. And I can't wait to hear how Luke's first lightsaber was recovered. If you take a look at the hand above on the right, it doesn't look quite human.

Speaking of Luke...

TFA_Luke

I've seen more than a few people mentioning how Luke, assuming this is him, now has an all mechanical, glove-less hand. To me, it looks like the hand might have been damaged. There are a couple shots showing either lots of fire or volcanic activity like this.
Are we going back to Mustafar?

TFA_bb8

BB-8 seems poised to be this new group's R2-D2. He's already garnered a lot of fan attention. I know I've got a lot more respect for him after seeing this video which shows that yes, he is a 100% physical thing. Later this year, we'll be getting an iOS remote controlled toy version and he'll start appearing in Disney parks.

December can't get here soon enough, but there's a few things to hold us over until then. In case you missed them, here are links to the other big trailers that were unleashed over the weekend.



There was also a fan-shot video of the trailer for Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One which you might still be able to watch here. The first, non-Skywalker related movie is going to be about stealing the Death Star plans that eventually end up with Leia.

I'm all for new movies in the Star Wars galaxy but I don't want them to make the same mistake the former continuity did and try to give us the back story for everything. It will probably be great, but I'd love to see stories not even remotely tied to the Skywalker saga.
It's a big galaxy out there, show it to us!

TFS_tiepilot

Apr 17, 2015

Sideshow Collectibles Little Groot

LIttle Groot box front

I got a Little Groot in the mail this weekend! For the record, Little Groot is the "official" name of this version of Groot, not Baby Groot. He's from Sideshow Collectibles/Hot Toys. He's my first Hot Toy because usually they do larger figures and they are expensive!

Little Groot box side

The box itself is pretty cool. It's got the Ravagers emblem on the top and  the sides look like they're part of a starship. It just feels very Guardians.

Little Groot Scale

Here's a shot for scale of Groot with Drax from the Marvel Legends 6' figure line. Yep, they're not kidding when they say "Little" Groot, he's just 1/4 scale. His arms and body are somewhat bendy so you can pose him a little. The instructions advise against moving the arms up more than 45° and the body no more than 30° to avoid damage. Pretty specific!

But I'll tell you where the real danger of damage comes from: trying to swap out one of Groot's three heads.

LIttle Groot Grinning

There's no problem removing the one that comes attached but trying to put on one of the others is not a fun task. The neck has a ball joint to put the head on. I don't know if the extra heads just need to be "broken in" to go on the ball but they don't go on easily. The main issue is that when you're putting on a head, your instinct is to push it down on to the ball. Well, the top of Groot's head has got lots of tiny branches on it, not a place you want to apply pressure. I tried holding the head between my fingers but then you're pushing down on the semi-bendy body. It boils down to some delicate trial and error.

Direct from Sideshow, Little Groot is $45 and while he does look great, I would have liked to have seen him a little bigger at that price. But if you want a tiny screen accurate, poseable potted Groot, this is your best option.

Little Groot Dancing

Apr 13, 2015

Table Not Day

Remember Friday, how excited I was at the prospect of attending my first ever Tabletop Day event and play lots of games?

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Weeks ago I had checked the Tabletop Day website to see where events were being held in my area. There were three in the immediate area. I decided to go to the one at my local Barnes & Noble instead of one of the other two that were being hosted by local gamer groups.

See, even at my age, I'm still pretty much a 13 year old geek that's socially awkward. The idea of going somewhere to meet a group of strangers that already know each other is more daunting than going to a book store for a few hours.

The event was scheduled 1pm-4pm. I showed up around 1:45 and there was no indication that anything was going on in the store that day other than day to day business. You'd expect there to at least be a sign or something at the door, right? Maybe I missed it.

After meandering around the store for a few minutes, I got to the toy section of the store and found this...


Was this it? Certainly if I worked at a store participating in an international celebration of gaming, I'd have an employee here, maybe a sign at least? Considering it was 45 minutes past the time it was to have started, I didn't bother asking anyone about it. It was doubtful anyone was showing up.

Did they under promote the event (or did they at all)? I'll never know because the lackluster-ness of it put me in a terrible mood the rest of the day. I don't blame Geek and Sundry at all. I could see via social media there were tons of people around the planet celebrating, playing games, and having fun like they should be.

Maybe next year, Tabletop Day. Maybe next year...

Apr 10, 2015

International Tabletop Day is Tomorrow!

Three years ago, Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton created International Tabletop Day, a day to bring tabletop gaming to the masses and take over social media for the day. If you've browsed the game section of Target lately you've probably noticed there have been more tabletop type games like Pandemic, Muchkin, and King of Tokyo. I think it's pretty cool that someone may wander into a Target and find a game like this that could be a gateway for them to get into things other than Scrabble or Monopoly. There's nothing wrong with those, but there's so much more out there to play!

This year, I'm going to my first event and I'm hoping it'll be a lot of fun. You can hit the link up there and see if there's an event in your area, it's not too late!

If you're like me and you love games, you should check out Wil Wheaton's Tabletop on the YouTube. Every couple weeks he plays a new game with some pals. They recently did an "After Dark" episode for Cards Against Humanity. Needless to say, it's hilarious and waaay NSFW  but here it is.


A couple more game related things...

Flip the Table is a podcast about the cheezy, weird, and obscure board game. Every show the hosts talk about one of said games and what they thought of it. It might be a Justin Bieber game, the Bionic Woman, the Robocop VCR board game, or the Batman audio casette game! It's a lot of fun to listen to and you might just hear them talk about a game you played as a kid.

On a somewhat related note is JavaScript Board Games. One crazy guy decided to code a board game to help him learn Java. He enjoyed it so much he decided to keep going and do more. Funnily enough, one of the games he was looking for was Alien and I happened to have scans of it that I found online years ago. I can't wait to see that one get finished and play it.

Whatever you do tomorrow, inject a little more fun into your day and play more games!

Apr 7, 2015

A New Eye for the Blog

When my home was broken into back in December, one of the things that made me the most mad was that they stole my camera. I really liked it, and even though you could drop it in a shirt pocket, it took great photos. A short while ago, we got a check from our insurance to replace the stuff that was stolen. Hurray!

I eventually made my way to Best Buy because this isn't something I can buy online without seeing it in person. I narrowed it down to three choices and checked them out on Snapsort.com (which is a great tool for research!) and landed on the Sony DSC-HX50V.

Also, FYI, the price in store was $70 MORE than their online price! Good thing I scoped that out first because they will price match not only their own prices (which seems kinda shady to me!) but other online retailers. Do your homework!

Camera front

One of the biggest factors for me when choosing a camera is optical zoom. Digital zoom is useless and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! This one's got a 30x optical zoom, are you ready for your close up?

It's got some other neat-o bells and whistles that will be fun to explore. This is my first camera with built-in wifi. What does that mean? For starters, I can transfer pics from the camera to my PC without having to physically connect them. At least, in theory. If you want an exercise in frustration, try entering a 16 character password with upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters without a keyboard! I can also send pics to my phone or tablet. That will be cool on vacation! There's a phone app which allows you to use your phone as a remote for the camera. Obviously, you can't turn the camera remotely but it will let you adjust the zoom and take the shot without being behind the camera. And it has GPS just in case I forget exactly where I took a photo.

I'm pretty excited about the fact that it can use an external flash too. I don't have one yet but maybe someday. If it's one thing I've disliked with my digital cameras it's that using the flash usually blows out the image or sometimes you're just that little bit too far away for the built-in to do what you need.

Camera back

The pick was all about function over form. I'm not in love with all the dials and buttons. I'd much rather have a touch screen because in my experience all that extra stuff can mean you hit something you didn't intend when trying to snap that pic. But I do appreciate the thumb rest to the left of the movie button which is textured to give a better grip.

I haven't used it a whole lot yet, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It sounds weird to say I wanted to introduce you to it, but my camera is such an integral part of most everything that goes on here I thought you should meet.

DSC00002

Apr 1, 2015

Monthly Movie Recap - March 2015

Greetings true believers! March came in like a lion...a lion made of ice. We're still thawing out here but it's mostly gone and we're looking at temps in the 60s for Friday. Hurray! Also, I finally managed to get a new camera, but more on that in a future post.

On with the March movies!


The first film from the House of Corman to ride on Conan's loincloth tails, it's also the film debut of Lana Clarkson from last month's Barbarian Queen flicks. There's a barbarian, an evil wizard, some ridiculous creature makeups, and Barbi Benton. If that doesn't sell you, you should probably not see it.

Cool: The best thing about this one is probably the poster by Boris Vallejo.
Lame: Deathstalker isn't just an anti-hero, he's kind of a dick for most of the movie
Rating: 5/10, there's another 3 movies in this series but I'm pacing myself


It's feels like a proto-Walking Dead: a band of apocalypse survivors avoiding monsters (human and otherwise) while trying to make their way to a better place. Despite the $17m budget, it feels very made-for-TV. I wanted to love it more because it's one of those movies I've always been aware of but never seen. If I'd seen it in the 70s, I might even had a soft spot for it.

Cool: George Peppard! Giant scorpions, flesh eating roaches, and what has to be one the greatest vehicles in film: the Landmaster
Lame: Apparently 20th Century Fox went back and re-edited this after the unexpected success of another little movie called Star Wars. And that's too bad because I'm guessing they cut the parts that would have given this some kind of meaningful story.
Rating: 5/10

* The Fast & The Furious (2001)
Thanks (?) to Now Playing Podcast doing a review retrospective of the series, I decided to put the pedal to the metal and check them out. I originally saw this when it was first released. I thought it would be just dumb fun (which it is) but there was more of a story to it than I was expecting. If you replaced Paul Walker with Michael Knight, this could be a movie length episode of Knight Rider.


Cool: The cars are the stars here; underground car racing; well done action/stunt scenes
Lame: As I said, the cars are the stars and they almost out-act the humans
Rating: 5.5/10

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
With the opening race, I had to check and make sure I didn't put in Wreck-It Ralph by accident. The cars, drivers, and their fans are all color co-ordinated and the race itself feels very much like something out of Need for Speed. But I'm not saying any of that as a bad thing!

Cool: Very kinetic driving sequences
Lame: The plot feels like it's trying too hard to be complicated and I don't need that in an action movie. If you want to get wasted watching this one, take a drink every time there's an insert shot of Walker's feet on the pedals.
Rating: 6/10, If the first one was Knight Rider, this one is skirting GTA.

The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
With a title like that, I expected this to be the (sequel name) 2: Electric Boogaloo of the series. What I wasn't expecting was the little kid from American Gothic! It's somewhat more of the same formula of cars, racing, and criminal activity but in Tokyo.

Cool: Moving to Tokyo really makes this one feel fresh; some impressive drift stunts; the surprise cameo at the end which makes this apparent reboot turn into a sequel
Lame: Although the drifting is cool, I got bored of it after awhile. The previous driving sequences were very kinetic and exciting, drifting isn't as thrilling but more artistic to watch.
Rating: 6/10, Car-ate Kid 2

Fast & Furious (2009)
The original gang returns for this sequel which is a prequel to Tokyo Drift. Whaaaa? Maybe it will all make sense as the series progresses. More cars, fast driving, and Paul Walker undercover. This one is more Diesel's flick as he's out for revenge against a drug lord.

Cool: Fantastic opening sequence and first race
Lame: They sort of off-screen kill one of the main characters from the original movie
Could Go Either Way: There's some over the top moments that you'll either embrace or roll your eyes at
Rating: 5.5/10

Cinderella (2015)
They did a great job with this, I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would. There's not much to say, it's a live action Disney Cinderella! The Frozen short in front of it is a ton of fun. 

Cool: The special effects are wonderful in the truest sense of the word from the transformations to the mice; If you keep an eye out during Cinderella and the Prince's dance you'll see other Disney princesses attending the ball!
Lame: Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. You could put Jack Sparrow in drag and it would be just about the same in every way...except he might be a smidge prettier.
Rating: 7/10

Month Total
 New: 6  Rewatch: 1
Year Total
 New: 18  Rewatch: 3

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